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Ed Sheeran|=

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Ed Sheeran

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"I have grown up, I am a father now." These are the first words Ed Sheeran sings on =, his fourth official solo album, the one that arrives four years after ÷. Between these two records, he got married to his old sweetheart and had a baby -- he also released the stopgap No. 6 Collaborations Project, a star-studded affair that kept him on the charts -- major life events that provide the fuel for the 14 songs on =. Supported by a bed of supple R&B rhythms, retro keyboards, and a vague hint of his signature acoustic guitar, Sheeran tackles new fatherhood and love everlasting, taking time to offer such complementary accents as "Visiting Hours," a nod to a departed friend. Despite his feint at late-night debauchery on "Bad Habits," the album teems with mature aspirations: he's grappling with growth, sensing the passage of time, and wishing he could relive first times once again. These themes are simultaneously profound and banal, an emotional territory that suits Sheeran's knack for crafting candied corn. Sheeran never chooses a winding path; whether it's his melody or lyrics, he always opts for the straightest course. By favoring simplicity, he veers toward clichés and homilies -- this is particularly true when he's writing for and about his newborn child, such as the singsong lullaby "Sandman" -- yet he knows how to turn his highly personal observations into adult contemporary pop: music where the vibe matters as much as the hooks. Here, Sheeran's melodies are soft yet insistent, and the production glistens with flair borrowed from younger, hipper artists who mine a similar blend of retro new wave and modern R&B, but he knows how to turn this stylish sound into something cozy and reassuring. That comforting gloss is the surest sign that Ed Sheeran has indeed grown up: he's not chasing trends, he's making music for people who have aged out of the clubs but have yet to wallow in nostalgia.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Ed Sheeran

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1
Tides
00:03:15

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Fred, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals, Bass, Boy Soprano, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Piano, ExecutiveProducer - Foy Vance, Composer, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Joe Rubel, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Piano, Programmer, Drum Programmer, Bass - Matt Glasbey, Engineer, Programmer - Robert Sellens, Engineer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Camden Clarke, AssistantEngineer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

2
Shivers
00:03:27

Steve Mac, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Vocal Production - Chris Laws, Drums, Engineer, Programmer, Recorded by - Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer, Pizzicato Violin - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Engineer, Guitar, ExecutiveProducer - Kal Lavelle, Composer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Dan Pursey, Engineer, Recorded by, Vocal Production - Joe Rubel, Engineer, Additional Programmer, Recorded by - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

3
First Times
00:03:05

Laurie Anderson, Viola - Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - David Hodges, Composer - Graham Archer, Vocal Production - Michael Jones, Violin - Leon Bosch, Double Bass - Fred, Producer, Piano, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Kathy Gowers, Violin - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, ExecutiveProducer - Kirsty Mangan, Violin - Gary Pomeroy, Viola - Matthew Denton, Violin - Ashok Klouda, Cello - Thomas Gould, Violin - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Parisi, Additional Strings - Beatrix Lovejoy, Violin - Warren Zielinksi, Violin - Tim Lowe, Cello - Fred Gibson, Composer - Anna Blackmur, Violin - Meghan Cassidy, Viola - Ciaran McCabe, Violin - Joe Rubel, String Recording Engineer, Strings Programmer - Matt Glasbey, Engineer - Jan Regulski, Violin - Marije Johnston, Violin - Martyn Jackson, Violin - Matthew Sheeran, String Arranger - Rebecca Lowe, Viola - Samantha Wickramasinghe, Violin - Eoin Schmidt-Martin, Viola - Antonia Kesel, Violin - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Victoria Harrild, Cello - Neil Dawes, AssistantEngineer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer - Ann Bielby, Viola - Marta Di Nozzi, AssistantEngineer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

4
Bad Habits
00:03:50

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Iain Archer, Slide Guitar - Fred, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Backing Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Acoustic Guitar, ExecutiveProducer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Will Reynolds, AssistantEngineer - Parisi, Additional Production - Fred Gibson, Composer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

5
Overpass Graffiti
00:03:56

Hal Ritson, Keyboards, Additional Vocals, Additional Programmer, Bass, AdditionalEngineer - Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Richard Adlam, Additional Programmer - Louise Clare Marshall, Additional Vocals - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Will Reynolds, AssistantEngineer - Fred Gibson, Composer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

6
The Joker And The Queen
00:03:05

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Leon Bosch, Double Bass - Fred, Producer, String Arranger, Engineer, Keyboards, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Vocals, Backing Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, ExecutiveProducer - Romans, Producer - Ashok Klouda, Cello - Sam Roman, Composer, Guitar, Piano - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Will Reynolds, AssistantEngineer - Marco Parisi, Strings - Tim Lowe, Cello - Fred Gibson, Composer - Joe Rubel, String Recording Engineer, Strings Programmer - Matt Glasbey, Engineer - Matthew Sheeran, String Arranger, Programmer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Victoria Harrild, Cello - Neil Dawes, AssistantEngineer - Marta Di Nozzi, AssistantEngineer - Kieran Beardmorre, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

7
Leave Your Life
00:03:43

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer - Fred, Engineer, Piano, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, ExecutiveProducer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Elvira Anderfjärd, Producer, Drums, Keyboards, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Bass - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

8
Collide
00:03:30

Ben Kweller, Composer - Hal Ritson, Programmer - Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Backing Vocals, Vocal Production - Fred, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Vocals, Backing Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Richard Adlam, Percussion - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Will Reynolds, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, AssistantEngineer - Kevin Myers, Backing Vocals - Fred Gibson, Composer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Benjy, Drums - Benji Gibson, Additional Production - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

9
2step
00:02:33

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - David Hodges, Composer - Paul Lamalfa, Engineer - Fred, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, ExecutiveProducer - Andrew Watt, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Louis Bell, Composer, Producer, Drums, Keyboards, Programmer - Andrew Wotman, Composer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

10
Stop The Rain
00:03:23

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Backing Vocals, Bass, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, ExecutiveProducer - Foy Vance, Piano - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Joe Rubel, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Programmer, Drum Programmer - Matt Glasbey, Engineer, Programmer - Robert Sellens, Engineer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Camden Clarke, AssistantEngineer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

11
Love In Slow Motion
00:03:10

Natalie Hemby, Composer - Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Piano, Programmer, Backing Vocals, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Backing Vocals, Bass, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Programmer, Backing Vocals, ExecutiveProducer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Will Reynolds, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, AssistantEngineer - Marco Parisi, Keyboards, Piano - Giampaolo Parisi, Drums, Programmer - Joe Rubel, Engineer, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Additional Production, Programmer - Matt Glasbey, Engineer - Robert Sellens, Engineer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Camden Clarke, AssistantEngineer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

12
Visiting Hours
00:03:35

Jimmy Barnes, Backing Vocals - Kylie Minogue, Backing Vocals, Vocal Recording Engineer, Additional Vocal Recording - Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Kevin Shirley, Additional Vocal Recording Engineer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Programmer, Backing Vocals, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Will Reynolds, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, AssistantEngineer - Parisi, Additional Production - Marco Parisi, Horn, Keyboards, Piano - Amy Wadge, Composer - Jimmy Carr, Backing Vocals - Scott Carter, Composer - Michael Pollack, Composer - Jack Parisi, Programmer - Anthony Clemons, Composer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Josh McDaid, Backing Vocals - Aine McDaid, Backing Vocals - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer - Maev McDaid, Backing Vocals - Pauline McDaid, Backing Vocals - Kim Lang Smith, Composer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

13
Sandman
00:04:19

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, ExecutiveProducer - Owen Pallett, String Arranger, Viola, Violin - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Vocals, Ukulele, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Piano, Programmer, Marimba, ExecutiveProducer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Will Reynolds, AssistantEngineer - Michael Peter Olsen, Cello - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Aine McDaid, Flute, Recorder - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer - Maev McDaid, Harp

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

14
Be Right Now
00:03:31

Stuart Hawkes, Masterer - Graham Archer, Engineer, Vocal Production - Fred, Producer, Drums, Engineer, Keyboards, Programmer, Bass, ExecutiveProducer - Ed Sheeran, Composer, Producer, Vocals, Backing Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Johnny McDaid, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, ExecutiveProducer - Mark Spike Stent, Mixer - Charlie Holmes, Assistant Mixer - Parisi, Additional Production - Marco Parisi, Piano, Strings - Giampaolo Parisi, Programmer, Sound Effects (SFX) - Fred Gibson, Composer - Matt Wolach, Assistant Mixer - Kieran Beardmore, Assistant Mixer

An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, © 2021 Warner Music UK Limited An Asylum Records UK release, a division of Atlantic Records UK, ℗ 2021 Warner Music UK Limited

Album Description

"I have grown up, I am a father now." These are the first words Ed Sheeran sings on =, his fourth official solo album, the one that arrives four years after ÷. Between these two records, he got married to his old sweetheart and had a baby -- he also released the stopgap No. 6 Collaborations Project, a star-studded affair that kept him on the charts -- major life events that provide the fuel for the 14 songs on =. Supported by a bed of supple R&B rhythms, retro keyboards, and a vague hint of his signature acoustic guitar, Sheeran tackles new fatherhood and love everlasting, taking time to offer such complementary accents as "Visiting Hours," a nod to a departed friend. Despite his feint at late-night debauchery on "Bad Habits," the album teems with mature aspirations: he's grappling with growth, sensing the passage of time, and wishing he could relive first times once again. These themes are simultaneously profound and banal, an emotional territory that suits Sheeran's knack for crafting candied corn. Sheeran never chooses a winding path; whether it's his melody or lyrics, he always opts for the straightest course. By favoring simplicity, he veers toward clichés and homilies -- this is particularly true when he's writing for and about his newborn child, such as the singsong lullaby "Sandman" -- yet he knows how to turn his highly personal observations into adult contemporary pop: music where the vibe matters as much as the hooks. Here, Sheeran's melodies are soft yet insistent, and the production glistens with flair borrowed from younger, hipper artists who mine a similar blend of retro new wave and modern R&B, but he knows how to turn this stylish sound into something cozy and reassuring. That comforting gloss is the surest sign that Ed Sheeran has indeed grown up: he's not chasing trends, he's making music for people who have aged out of the clubs but have yet to wallow in nostalgia.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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